|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:21-25 Sin is turning aside to crooked ways. And forgetting the Lord our God is at the bottom of all sin. By sin we bring ourselves into trouble. The promise to those that return is, God will heal their backslidings, by his pardoning mercy, his quieting peace, and his renewing grace. They come devoting themselves to God. They come disclaiming all expectations of relief and succour from any but the Lord. Therefore they come depending upon him only. He is the Lord, and he only can save. It points out the great salvation from sin Jesus Christ wrought out for us. They come justifying God in their troubles, and judging themselves for their sins. True penitents learn to call sin shame, even the sin they have been most pleased with. True penitents learn to call sin death and ruin, and to charge upon it all they suffer. While men harden themselves in sin, contempt and misery are their portion: for he that covereth his sins shall not prosper, but he that confesseth and forsaketh them, shall find mercy.
Verse 23. - Truly in vain, etc. An obscure and (if corruption exists anywhere) corrupt passage, which, however, it is hopeless to attempt to emend, as the corruption consists partly in wrong letters, partly in omitted letters or words (or both); and, moreover, the text employed by the Septuagint appears to have presented the same difficulty. The latter point is especially noteworthy. It is far from proving that the traditional text is correct; what it does suggest is that the writings of the prophets were at first written down in a very insecure manner. The rendering of the Authorized Version is substantially that of Hitzig, who explains "the multitude of [the] mountains," as meaning "the multitude of gods worshipped on the mountains" -too forced an expression for so simple a context. It seems most natural to suppose (with Ewald, Graf, and Keil), a contrast between the wild, noisy cultus of idolatrous religions, and the quiet spiritual worship inculcated by the prophets. Compare by way of illustration, the loud and ostentatious demonstrations of Baal's ritual in 1 Kings 18, with the sober, serious attitude of Elijah in the same chapter. The word rendered in the Authorized Version "multitude" has a still more obvious and original meaning, viz. "tumult;" and probably the Targum is not far from the true sense in rendering, "In vain have we worshipped upon the hills and not for profit have we raised a tumult on the mountains."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains,.... From any natural defence, by hills and mountains encompassing; or from idols worshipped on hills and mountains. So the Targum,
"truly in vain we worship upon the hills, and for no profit are we gathered upon the mountains;''
and to this purpose Jarchi and Kimchi interpret it; or from the multitude of the people, the kingdoms of the world, and the nations of the earth, from whom the Jews have in vain expected salvation and deliverance:
truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel; or, "in the Word of the Lord our God", as the Targum; in Christ, the essential Word of God, is the salvation of all the chosen people, both Jews and Gentiles; it was put into his hands by his Father, and it is wrought out by him; and it resides in him, and it is to be had in him, and in him only, Acts 4:12, who is God the Lord, and therefore was able to effect it, and to give it; and hence these repenting ones, discarding all other saviours, apply to him for it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. multitude of mountains—that is, the multitude of gods worshipped on them (compare Ps 121:1, 2, Margin).
Jeremiah 3:23 Parallel Commentaries
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